When one thinks about the food of Tamil Nadu, a few names instantly brighten up: Dosa, Sambhar and Medhu Vada. But the culinary contribution of the state does not end there.
There are many other cuisines of Tamil Nadu and each one is distinctly delicious.
The expertise of Tamil Nadu lies in its clever, strategic use of spices. These spices offer a rainbow of tastes: pungent, sour, hot, intense and piquant. Rice is widely savoured throughout the state. The state loves to experiment with rice by blending it with a variety of vegetables and spices.
Yoghurt is another all-time favourite of the state’s cuisine that is used in versatile ways. It is used to prepare gravies, lend sponginess and add a mild taste to the food. Being a coastal region, the state abides in coconut trees. So, coconut is also widely used to add a nutty flavour and certain chewiness to the foods.The food of Tamil Nadu is very delicious and rich, and surprisingly it is not very heavy on the stomach. So, would you like to start the culinary journey of Tamil Nadu?
Melagu (rice) Pongal
It is a light rice dish that is mainly consumed as a breakfast in Tamil Nadu. It deftly blends rice and split green gram in just the right quantities offering it perfect variations of flavours. The grainy taste of rice is opened up by the most prominent flavour of split green gram. The blend is given a royal treatment by adding cashews.
The cashew is first sautéed with ginger, cumin seeds and peppercorns.It prevents the silky, subtle flavour of Cashew to be hidden by rice or overpowered by lentils. Finally, the curry leaves are used to add a charming freshness. Its taste is so delightful that it is also offered to the God in the temples. The dish also plays an important role in festival delicacies and used on auspicious occasions.
Few healthy foods would compete with cabbage as far as the taste is concerned. The cabbage has a versatile flavour that doesn’t fail to amuse you.It can be enjoyed as a salad or employed to make various mouthwatering Indian curries. In TamilNadu, it is used to make a side dish named “Cabbage Poriyal”. It employs a simple recipe and offers an incredibly great taste. In this recipe, the shredded cabbage is added to lentils and sautéed with mustard seeds. Finally, the coriander and shredded coconut are used to lift up the flavour and add some natural taste.
The bright taste of cabbage is perfectly entwined with lentils that offer a distinct height to the delicacy of cabbage. Bengal gram and split black gram are added to it for a nutty flavour. And when you are enjoying the satisfying taste of the delicacy the tiny, naughty mustard seeds playfully crackle between your teeth to offer a heightened delight. Use of grated coconut further enriches the flavour and makes the dish a bit chewy for you to enjoy the taste. The bright taste of turmeric and salt adds just a balanced boldness to the flavour while the use of green chilli and coriander adds a pleasant freshness to it.
Urlai Roast is another delicacy of Tamil Nadu that uses tender baby potatoes boiled to the perfection. They are then dipped into a bright gravy that uses tangy tomatoes furthered strengthened by pungent onion and intense garlic. When threesome meets, perfect gravy is inevitable. The use of spices like red chilli powder, black pepper, salt and turmeric adds a perfect aesthetics to the flavour. Cardamom and cinnamon add a great intense flavour to give a sophisticated character to the dish.
However, the final magic is done by the chettinadu masala that uses coconut as a base that is painted with the hues of different colourful spices. No other recipe can blend potato lentils and nutty coconut in such a creative way.